A chicken sandwich (general photo, not specific to CFA)
A chicken sandwich (general photo, not specific to CFA)
Photo by from Pexels

Chick-fil-A provides extensive allergen information on their website. Every CFA location is the same; up and down the east coast and out in AZ.  Always check their website for the most up-to-date information.

Now,  I realize that for many of us, CFA is not an option because of their discriminatory practices and attitudes toward the GLBTQ+ community, and many of us boycott, or have boycotted them. I used to boycott them. But then I found out that their fries were absolutely safe for me. I won’t tag them as Celiac safe because they are not a dedicated restaurant overall, but the fries are in a dedicated fryer. I am extremely sensitive to cross contamination, but as long as I stick to their gluten free items, I have not gotten sick. Not once in 12 years of eating there while living gluten free. But each person should make their own decision about this.

The reason I stopped boycotting them, despite the fact that yes, I’m lesbian. Yes, I was married to/widowed by a wonderful woman. Yes, we absolutely support LGBTQ+ rights. But we realized we had a catch-22. We’d be out all day, or have an unexpected trip somewhere . . . and I’d need to eat something to tide me over. Or we’d be on a road trip and didn’t have a good way of taking easy-to-eat meals in the car (and I can only handle so much junk food — as much as I enjoy it, I have a limit). So it was eat what was safe at CFA or don’t eat at all, and for me, not eating at all wasn’t a good option.

And when my wife was on chemo, CFA was often all she could stand. When she was hospitalized, it was the only safe thing for me near the hospital. After she died, it was one of the only things I could stomach for a long, long time, and often, it still is.

So, I ask all of you reading this to please consider not judging when you see someone eating at CFA, especially someone you know is either GLBTQ+ themselves or is an ally, because you just never know what else is going on that they need to eat there. It doesn’t mean that they agree with CFA’s policies; I sure don’t.

What do I get that I’ve been able to eat? So, it’s an unfortunately short list, but at least I know I won’t get sick eating it: waffle fries, sweet tea (unsweet is safe too), Ice Dream in a cup. Their cones are NOT safe. I have heard the hash browns are safe, but I’ve never pursued this. I also can have their Honey Roasted Barbeque sauce – as far as gluten free goes. If I have too much of the sauce, it irritates my dyshidrotic eczema, but I haven’t been able to figure out which ingredient is the cause. This is not the Celiac Rash (dermatitis herpetiformis).  Their carrot and raisin salad was safe, but sadly was taken off the menu several years ago. I don’t know why; it always seemed very popular. If it ever goes back on the menu, be sure you check to make sure nothing has changed!

I’m not saying that this short list is all there is, but it is what is safe for me. I know some Celiacs feel safe with their grilled nuggets. I don’t (and I think they smell . . . off-putting anyway).

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